Some Guys Gaffe Easy

We’ve been having a good abortion discussion on Hal’s “The Closing Gender Gap” post.  I do not want to move that discussion over here and I don’t want to make this post about abortion either.

This is going to be one of those times that I ask everyone to completely ignore the over-riding issue.  A good blogger would struggle with this, so you can imagine how distorted this is going to be when I get through.

Instead, I want to dwell on this phenomenon I’ve been studying that I call a sort of Comfortable Extremism.  First, I think we should confront the Republican Party’s weird problem with rape.  It’s getting to be frustrating for those of us who just can’ t vote for a Democrat, don’t want to stay home on Election Day, and don’t read Infowars enough to keep up on the Libertarian platform.   I’m especially annoyed because I had no idea until Akin spouted off that this is an emerging trend among pro-life conservatives.  It bothers me when my own cluelessness gets me ambushed like this.  I even still managed to be surprised by Mourdock’s similar statement.   Apparently, I shouldn’t be expecting mature candidates for the US Fucking Senate.  This is well and good for dopey state legislators, but the Senate?

Now you can say that I’m being unfair here.  After all, the Romney campaign keeps coming forward and condemning members of their own party who tell us what they actually think about girls who claim they were raped.  And that’s why this is a GOP problem.  Why are Republican national candidates being compelled to stop talking about their national agendas to remind us that they disapprove of sexually-aggressive felonies?

The reason is that politicians–like us real people–believe stupid things, are kind of stupid themselves without realizing it, hang out with other stupid people, and talk about the stupid things they believe and they promptly run into trouble when they get near a microphone (knowingly or unknowingly) and tell the world what they really think.  It turns out that we only want the sane politicians to be honest.

You know what it is?  For years, liberals could say: “Sure, abortion isn’t great, but you don’t REALLY want to force women to carry a child conceived from rape or incest, do you?”  And that argument has been persuasive for the majority of Americans.  In fact, pro-choice advocates thought the beauty of it was that nobody on the other side would be so callous, crazy, foolish, or all of the above as to pick on rape victims.  Yep.  Turns out, they are and they will.  And then, for some reason, they feel the need to apologize and explain that they really do disapprove of raping women.   

I’m not saying that Akin or Mourdock are bad guys who want to go all Taliban-y on rape victims.  I’m not even going to criticize people who agree with their viewpoint that there should be no rape exception for abortion.  It’s not my point here today.   It’s a great example of how the opposing party has so completely owned an issue that the other party has to go to the most ridiculous extremes to keep their own argument consistent.  Akin and Mourdock (and I suspect many, many pro-lifers) have had to either redefine or downplay rape to keep from ever having to admit that abortion is justified in even more than 1% of pregnancies.

Americans have gotten to be so extreme on certain pet issues that they don’t even realize how far out they are when they get outside of their circle of friends and followers. That’s why the reactions these political guys make is always a day-later “whaaa?” instead of an immediate clarification.

Democrats aren’t immune to this either.  The GOP has successfully dominated the 2nd Amendment issue so well that Democrats won’t dare bring it before a national audience.  Behind the scenes during the 2008 campaign, however, Obama let loose with his “bitterly clinging to guns and religion” comment.  He apologized later, but that’s what he and his intended audience really believes: “There isn’t a right or even a need to own firearms.  It’s all about hating people different from yourself.”

The observation I have is that too many Americans have become comfortable in holding extreme viewpoints because they don’t fucking talk to people they disagree with and never have to defend their own views or articulate and explain concepts such as the Vaginal Anti-Rape Firewall.  It’s just about impossible to have a grown-up conversation on the big issues these days with anybody because of it. 

When people have to contort their arguments to avoid reality, deal in Sith-like absolutes, and attack; they’re probably holding an extremist viewpoint.  Obviously, when people have been backed into a corner and are arguing nutty things, it’s because they’re losing.  Don’t let them get comfortable with it.  Call bullshit.  You’ll be doing him or her a favor and probably saving that person from future embarrassment.

Comments are closed.

  1. Mississippi Yankee

    When having apolitical joust with my brother I often accuse him of”Enclave Thinking”. But to a certain point I guess we all tend to be a bit tribal.
    ♫Born This Way♪
    Lady GaGa

    But in my defense my brother’s FB profile says for political affiliation – East Coast Elitist – no lie.

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  2. Jim

    It’s a great example of how the opposing party has so completely owned an issue that the other party has to go to the most ridiculous extremes to keep their own argument consistent. Akin and Mourdock (and I suspect many, many pro-lifers) have had to either redefine or downplay rape to keep from ever having to admit that abortion is justified in even more than 1% of pregnancies.

    I’m trying to understand exactly what this section means, and it seems I’m failing.
    When your view is that life begins at conception, it would be more extreme, not less, to allow any exceptions. So I guess I’m not understanding how this would be “going to extremes” to keep consistent. Rather, it is simply “being consistent”.

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  3. Thrill *

    When your view is that life begins at conception, it would be more extreme, not less, to allow any exceptions.

    For better or for worse, the mainstream opinion of the American public has decided that there should be an exception for rape. Some within the pro-life movement have chosen to counteract the “what about rape?” argument by adopting a position that is well out of the mainstream. The pro-choice side has won the middle ground on that topic and forced anyone who disagrees with it to take a more extreme position.

    Saying that life begins at conception but still favoring abortion in certain circumstances is basically hypocritical (and most Americans do appear to be so on that), but it isn’t “extreme”. This is why you can have a Blue Dog Democrat vote the party line on “women’s health” issues, but still claim to be pro-life. Contrast the reaction you get when someone like Mourdock tells the electorate what he really thinks about girls who claim to get pregnant from rape.

    The guys I’m talking about are choosing the extreme position to escape having themselves labeled hypocritical or to give any ground on their charge that abortion is simply wrong. Unfortunately, we’ve seen that guys like Akin can only hold that extreme view comfortably when they downplay rape or use imaginary scientific statements to explain why abortion is so rare in real rape that the exception isn’t needed.

    Again: I’m not making any right-or-wrong arguments about what they believe. Just pointing out that theirs is an extreme view (simply out of the mainstream) that they have nurtured to the point that they are stunned when they get blasted for saying what they believe publicly.

    This will keep happening.

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  4. Thrill *

    Hey thrill – good to see you. I miss the VO for what it’s worth.

    I miss it too. It was a unique site, but we just couldn’t keep it going. Thankfully, I still keep in close contact with dwex, pfluffy, and a few others. I got a lot out of it.

    I’m glad you’re still here. I’ll be curious to see how many other old friends are lurking.

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  5. hist_ed

    If you look at their statements, Murdoch isn’t in the same class as Akin. Murdoch essentially repeated Catholic (and some other Christian) dogma on conception. Akin just said something really stupid, just as stupid as Gingrich’s 1990s comment on women in combat or anything that Joe Biden says any given week.

    I am mostly pro-choice and I don’t find Akin to be that bad. He said something that isn’t true, was beaten over the head with it, and apologized. Because abortion is the highest sacrament in the Church of liberalism, this blasphemy is the highest sin imaginable (Oh and its politically convenient, too).

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  6. Thrill *

    Akin’s was off the charts ignorant on scientific grounds. But you can’t simply say that this was a case of making liberals mad over their favorite issue when they get condemned by Romney and the GOP leadership. The politicians who do understand the opposing and prevailing views on the issue know that these positions are extreme but they come down on Akin and Mourdock for telling us what they think, not for having the opinions.

    The media knows this and that’s why they keep asking about rape. Paul Ryan ducked it well, but even he has subordinated his own view on this issue to Romney’s because he understands that Romney is really more of a centrist on this issue.

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  7. Thrill *

    Oh, let me clear the air on hypocrisy here: I’m planning to vote for Akin. Yes, he’s a retarded retard, but I need McCaskill gone.

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  8. ilovecress

    This is what I was (clumsily) trying to get at in the other thread. You have a bunch of people who think abortion is immoral, an shouldn’t be allowed, and a bunch of people who think that it should be allowed.

    Then in the middle you have a bunch of people who don’t want to appear to be as extreme as either of these two positions, so throw in the ‘rape and incest’ exception to appear more compassionate, or to appear more ‘moral’.

    I get the impulse of wanting to moderate your position, but when it results in a policy that can’t be enforced* then really it’s all hot air. I much more respect Ryan’s position than Romney’s, as at least it’s consistent. Rachel Maddow can scream all she wants about Akin wanting rape babies, but she’s advocating putting rape victims through some sort of harrowing trial system to ascertain if she’s a liar before she’s allowed to terminate the life inside her.

    I’m thinking there is something in Hals idea that actually solving the issue would hurt both parties – and arguing about the semantics is great for energising the base.

    *If there is some way to enforce it that I haven’t come across then I guess my point is moot. Googling ‘rape and incest’ when at work can be tricky.

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  9. Thrill *

    I agree with you on Ryan. He comes across as happy to talk about his more extreme viewpoint on abortion, but he also is smart enough not to say anything bafflingly dumb and then be surprised to find out that there are things you can say out in the church parking lot after service that you probably wouldn’t want to blab about on national television.

    I’m starting to wonder if GOP candidates shouldn’t just execute a Batmanesque escape from the room with a smoke bomb and grappling hook when a reporter even says “rape” until we get this worked out.

    ‘rape and incest’

    I would overlook it the typos if you used “rappe” and “innsest” if it would aid the discussion.

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  10. Jim

    Unfortunately, we’ve seen that guys like Akin can only hold that extreme view comfortably when they downplay rape or use imaginary scientific statements to explain why abortion is so rare in real rape that the exception isn’t needed.

    Again: I’m not making any right-or-wrong arguments about what they believe. Just pointing out that theirs is an extreme view (simply out of the mainstream) that they have nurtured to the point that they are stunned when they get blasted for saying what they believe publicly.

    This will keep happening.

    This will keep happening as long as we allow “mainstream” to define “not extreme”.
    Simply because something is “mainstream” does not exclude it from being “extreme”. That is dangerous group-think.
    In regards to downplaying rape: Roe v Wade was completely based upon the idea abortion needed to be legalized because of rape. Rape is always *always* the fallback when pro-abortionists get backed into a corner. It is completely understandable that one would try to head off that argument at the pass.

    Akin’s was off the charts ignorant on scientific grounds

    Which grounds would those be?
    I often wonder if people realize just how insulting that comment is to women who have lost pregnancy due to stress. My wife has been researching stress/pregnancy for two years. To deny the physiological and psychological ramifications of stress on a pregnancy essentially twists the knife in the back of women with the bad luck of experiencing a loss from either or both.
    I’m not trying to derail, but it infuriates me when people keep repeating bad information over and over again without doing any of the actual “scientific study” they keep claiming to represent. It is also a good example of how some people, regardless of whether or not what they say is correct, can be labeled “extreme” simply because people say so loud enough and often enough.

    I’m starting to wonder if GOP candidates shouldn’t just execute a Batmanesque escape from the room with a smoke bomb and grappling hook when a reporter even says “rape” until we get this worked out.

    I think they simply need to learn how to turn the question around and ask why the “reporter” never asks their counterpart about the inconsistencies in their position.

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  11. Thrill *

    This will keep happening as long as we allow “mainstream” to define “not extreme”.

    I don’t mind arguing semantics. What term should I use to describe favoring a major policy change that is not favored by most people? “Extreme” doesn’t mean the same thing as “violent” or “terroristic”, just to be clear.

    In regards to downplaying rape: Roe v Wade was completely based upon the idea abortion needed to be legalized because of rape.

    I don’t believe that. Texas DID have a rape exception before Roe. In fact, only three states prohibited abortion in ALL circumstances. Roe was based on “right to privacy”, medical considerations, and then rape.

    Which grounds would those be?

    If you believe that a woman’s body cannot become pregnant from rape, I can’t help you. It’s just not true.

    I think they simply need to learn how to turn the question around and ask why the “reporter” never asks their counterpart about the inconsistencies in their position.

    I’m with you there, but leftwing media bias is just a fact of life. Republicans have to expect to deal with it. Whining about it to a reporter’s face will do more harm than good though.

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  12. Kimpost

    I often wonder if people realize just how insulting that comment is to women who have lost pregnancy due to stress. My wife has been researching stress/pregnancy for two years. To deny the physiological and psychological ramifications of stress on a pregnancy essentially twists the knife in the back of women with the bad luck of experiencing a loss from either or both.

    Playing that game I could counter with:

    I often wonder just how insulting above comment is to women who have been raped without their re-productive systems shutting down. Sentiments like yours suggest that if rape victims don’t naturally miscarry, they secretly wanted to be raped. In fact it wasn’t a rape at all, as evidenced by the pregnancy. They enjoyed the good sex.

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  13. Poosh

    He said the female body ‘fights’ or some such rape-from-pregnancy i.e. rape victims magically can become non-pregnant. Which is about as insane as thinking the pile of crap in a female after a week from conception is a human being which deserves rights.

    “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down….”

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  14. grady

    I had to downvote the comment Kimpost. I don’t see this as being close to the same scale.

    Sentiments like yours suggest that if rape victims don’t naturally miscarry, they secretly wanted to be raped. In fact it wasn’t a rape at all, as evidenced by the pregnancy. They enjoyed the good sex.

    I think that this notion is very extreme. Not too many people will think if she couldn’t miscarry then she must have wanted the sex. Rape will still cause pregnancies that go to term. It will be a very small minority of idiots that would believe otherwise. Politicians are within that group obviously.

    I often wonder if people realize just how insulting that comment is to women who have lost pregnancy due to stress.

    It is a fact that stress can cause a woman to miscarry. I don’t think it happens a lot, but I have done no research. I don’t think Jim was trying to defend a foolish politician as much as he was countering the argument that miscarriage cannot happen due to stress or emotional trauma.

    The observation I have is that too many Americans have become comfortable in holding extreme viewpoints because they don’t fucking talk to people they disagree with and never have to defend their own views

    I think you were just arguing for arguments sake, but your argument is a perfect example of an extreme opinion that will not be voiced as a personal belief. Do you hold this opinion or think that this opinion should be more within the mainstream? I doubt it.

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  15. Jim

    I don’t mind arguing semantics. What term should I use to describe favoring a major policy change that is not favored by most people? “Extreme” doesn’t mean the same thing as “violent” or “terroristic”, just to be clear.

    I would also point out that “no exceptions” is not that far from the main stream.
    I do understand your point. One issue is that (back to your entire original idea) the very label of “extreme” has become exceptionally negative as opposed to a simple definition. As such, labeling something as “extreme” immediately evokes negative imagery that has been beaten into us by the media, society, and politics. We forget that “extreme” can be a good thing, i.e. Mother Theresa’s actions were certainly to an extreme, but should not necessarily be labeled as such.
    Other than simply calling such views “off the main-stream” or “alternative” I do not have a better suggestion.

    I don’t believe that. Texas DID have a rape exception before Roe. In fact, only three states prohibited abortion in ALL circumstances. Roe was based on “right to privacy”, medical considerations, and then rape.

    The woman who was the basis of the suit in Roe. v. Wade falsely claimed (at the urging of the lawyers) that she was gang raped. Many of the arguments hinged upon the idea that no rape victim should be forced to bear a rape child. Further “right to privacy” is bad law and was pulled out of thin air as opposed to actual Constitutional framework. It was exceptionally bad precedence that needs to be undone.

    If you believe that a woman’s body cannot become pregnant from rape, I can’t help you. It’s just not true.

    This quote leads me to believe you do not actually know what Akin said. At *no* point did he claim a woman *cannot* become pregnant. Many media outlets falsely reported this as his quote, but those who listened to the interview know that he claimed rape pregnancies were rare, not impossible. Now, this may depend on your definition of “rare” but statistics I’ve seen range from less than 1% to 5% as a high.

    He said the female body ‘fights’ or some such rape-from-pregnancy i.e. rape victims magically can become non-pregnant. Which is about as insane as thinking the pile of crap in a female after a week from conception is a human being which deserves rights.

    Gonna have to call bullshit poosh.
    In times of elevated stress (I think we can agree that rape is elevated stress) the female body shifts its hormone levels. The chemical directly related to stress, cortisol, drastically reduces the amount of progesterone available to the body, which creates an environment ill suited to implantation or ongoing pregnancy.
    As I said earlier, this ignorant and incompetent need to label such events as “magical” are deeply insulting to women who have lost pregnancies due to stress. I am far more offended by idiots who refuse to educate themselves on how stress affects fertility as well as the ability to successfully carry a pregnancy than anything Akin has said. More and more studies are showing direct links between high stress levels and the ability to even conceive. Further, there has long been a connection between periods of extreme stress spikes and miscarriages. The physical and emotional stress present from a rape is enough to massively shift the body’s biochemistry in a way that would prevent fertilization and/or implantation from even occurring. So please stop insulting those women who have lost pregnancies due to stress because of your inability to do some real research.

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  16. Poosh

    In times of elevated stress (I think we can agree that rape is elevated stress) the female body shifts its hormone levels.

    Let’s keep in mind entire breeds of people and even myself (those raping Spanish imperialists!) are the product of rape. I mean RAPE has long been a tactic of war AND IT WORKS.

    As far as I know stress over prolonged periods of time can help prevent conception. A host of things could, such as trauma, could help lower the chances of conception. But there is no evidence to deny that rape causes pregnancy comparative to non-rape. Some 30,000 rapes a year in the US result from pregnancy (numbers widely higher or lower due to the difficult way to count this, but keep in mind a massive number of rapes will NEVER be reported or spoken of – to the shame of western civilisation). 5% of rapes result in pregancy seems to be the popular chance of conception WHICH IS COMPARATIVE to the norm (go have 100 one night stands). Some studies even suggest rape INCREASES the chances of conception due to mother nature being a douche.

    As I said earlier, this ignorant and incompetent need to label such events as “magical” are deeply insulting to women who have lost pregnancies due to stress. I

    Why. If I misread Akin’s words or was tricked by the media, then that’s fair enough. But the idea that the female body has natural protection against rape is pure bullshit and pretty insulting, to, i don’t know, the MILLIONS of rape victims throughout history who got pregnant from rape, I guess their bodies just didn’t cut it? Akin’s words, from what I understand (and if I miss-read them, then I’ve miss-read them and this is moot) was that if a woman is raped then the female body will naturally try to destroy or stop the pregnancy… due to the stress. Now note doctor after doctor, and medical association after association has called bullshit on everything you’ve just wrote. Here’s an example!

    A 2003 study using data from the United States National Violence Against Women survey found that the rate at which women get pregnant after an incident of sexual assault is more than double that of a single act of consensual sex. In this report, published in the journal Human Nature, the per-incident rape-pregnancy rate was 6.42 percent, and as high as 7.98 percent with statistical correction. Of women having consensual sex, the per-incident pregnancy rate was 3.1 percent.

    Biology is a tricky thing, but your cortisol, the one I can find at least, was carried out on 30 war victims, half of which were raped. It was studying the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress. And cortisol may well – or does – lower the chances of conception, the evidence of rape increasing this is dubious it seems, but let’s assume stress does increase cortisol as it is a anti-stress agent. This is true of almost any given reason for stress. It is not a “natural” way the human body deals with an unwanted pregnancy or a rape. And I’m not entirely sure what the point is!? If you have a baby that was the result of rape your body will probably deal with it due to the stress (which it won’t, I’ll guarantee you a small number of stressful women do have complications~) …. but like, if the stress doesn’t cut it, then we’ll abort anyway, so it’s fine? If I keep reminding the woman she got raped, that will increase the chances of her miscarrying (Stress) … isn’t that also abortion?

    The physical and emotional stress present from a rape is enough to massively shift the body’s biochemistry in a way that would prevent fertilization and/or implantation from even occurring.

    Only it DOESN’T. Quite the opposite, if anything, seems to be the case. And at any rate, that’s your assertion. Stress affecting pregnancy while true, is still not an issue for many women – no doubt the majorty (my assertion) who suffer heavy stress. It’s a small amount of women who cannot carry due to stress.

    Here’s an article saying that the real danger of stress is the for the child after it is born. The study implies mothers suffering extreme stress give birth perfectly fine, but the development of the baby’s mental capacities etc is retarded.

    So please stop insulting those women who have lost pregnancies due to stress because of your inability to do some real research.

    Sounds like you’re the one doing the insulting. I mean the LOGICAL IMPLICATION of your words is that women who are raped and given birth / get pregnant are just not stressed enough to have a temporary inhospitable womb / miscarry. I mean having a melon fall out of your vagina / grow inside you is probably pretty stressful in and of itself … is that nature’s way of “dealing” with being pregnant?

    This is faux-christians latching onto a few pieces of science and research and trying to patch them up in a crude fashion, in order to justify whatever doctrinal belief they have. I mean strange how all these wonderful doctors and academics somehow missed the memo.

    But let’s throw some benefit of the doubt, and assume he was merely pointing out rape victims tend to have trauma and stress which can slightly lower the chances of getting pregnant…

    … If I was a rape victim I’d still punch him straight in the face.

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  17. Poosh

    As I side note. and I hate to say this, but there are some on the right and the “working class” left (UK terms here) that are still incredibly sexist and repulsive. And are entirely open to absorbing anything that undermines the work of feminists over the years (i mean original feminists, not these crazy 60s second and third wave feminists). They really do think women belong in the kitchen, and rapes are rare (most women asked for it) and that women are just not as smart as men. Women really are just objects to them.

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  18. CM

    Another day, another male Republican politician talking weirdly about that nasty rape thing.

    His question is: how does abortion make rape ‘better’?
    WTF? Who on God’s green earth is arguing that?!

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  19. Kimpost

    I had to downvote the comment Kimpost. I don’t see this as being close to the same scale.

    Know what? I don’t think they are of the same scale either. I think Jim’s much worse.

    You’d have to stretch almost beyond imagination to find the insult towards women in people’s rightful criticism of Akins blanket statement. Trying to rationalize it to meaning that “women who have been raped get stressed and therefore have a higher risk of miscarrying” is grasping at straws, to say the least.

    No woman of right mind would ever regard Akin critique as spitting on her stress-level induced “normal” miscarriage. Her pregnancy was not rape-related, after all, which was what the critique was all about.

    Actual rape victims, however, are kicked right in the teeth by a statement specifically targeting them. “The female body has ways for shutting itself down” implies, quite bluntly, that there’s something wrong with women who don’t shut down. Sure, they might have been raped, but were they rape-raped?

    I know Jim from old Moorewatch, and I know him as a very reasonable guy. I genuinely like and respect him. On abortion, his view is that life begins at conception, and that abortion is wrong – period. There’s nothing wrong with that view, but I think that it probably leads to defending Akin where defence isn’t deserved.

    Akin should stick with the moral argument, I know Jim does. How about this?

    – Yes, rape is horrible. Yes, carrying a child as a result of rape must be horrible. It might even leave the rape victim with life long emotional trauma, although I do think that she should get all the counselling she needs – free of charge. But, nothing changes the fact that I think that the life of the unborn is just as important as the life and well being of the raped woman. One is not more important than the other. Therefore abortion, under all circumstances, must be banned.

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  20. Poosh

    Agrees with Kimpost.

    I don’t know why abortion can make an otherwise sane person irrational, it seems to be a terrible pathology in some american conservatives. It cannot possibly be because of any sort of respect for human life, seeing as they’re just as happy to support the death penalty or blow away a thief in the night (i.e no rehabilitation to save that REAL human’s life).

    The litmus test is simple. Take what constitutes the goo in early pregnancy (4 weeks) and attach it whatever tech needed to keep it growing etc. Now take a 1 year old baby. If the 1 year old baby was threatened and you could give up your life to save it, would you? I hope the answer is yes. Would you do the same for the goo which hasn’t even got a consciousness?! Would you die for it? If you say yes, you’re a liar quite frankly.

    I think the right to arms was to protect yourself from the tyranny of government, and anti-abortion seems a clear example of tyranny that should be fought with violence.

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  21. Dave D

    Poosh: (standard response alert):

    At exactly what point along that curve does the benefit become enough to try to save the human being that is guaranteed life/iberty by my constitution? Would REALLY appreciate the true answer to that question.

    And while you’re in Dhali Lama mode, I’d appreciate the answers to life’s other difficult questions:

    1) What is the TRUE meaning of life?

    2) How does one achieve total conciousness?

    and (my personal favorite)

    3) What are the best kind of tits (full and firm or small and perky)?

    Sure don’t want my government, you (sorry), or a 51% majority dictating the answers to any of the above.

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  22. Thrill *

    1. 42 (yeah, yeah, shut up. It had to be done. You know it.)

    2. Compassion for others, universal love, and LSD

    3. The kind you have in your hand right now.

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  23. Poosh

    Whatever the doctors agree on that the fetus has a suitable level of consciousness. ie his mental state is affected by external forces such as music (that’s usually about a month or two after conception, then I’d said you’re dealing with a “self” which the law should protect ((there is no pro-anti abortion dichotomy, I find this insane, I support abortion in the first month or so – entirely dependent on what science says – and then oppose it after that cut off point, APART from rape and incest victims). If you’d go strictly to “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”, which I wouldn’t, then the subject – baby – would have to have a conscious understanding of what it is to be alive, to have liberty, and understand how to pursue happiness. As a secondary point it is true that when you’re born into any society you’re not actually given any say over what constitution your country is founded on. It’s literally arbitrary, no mater how breath-taking your constitution is. As an additional point which probably doesn’t apply to you, but why is the baby’s life – at any point – so important that you would TAX via violence everyone to enforce these anti-abortion laws, yet as soon as the baby is out, well, it’s not cool to tax people (Welfare) to maintain that baby’s life and make sure it’s healthy – or if it gets ill, he’ll have to rely on charity, if his parents cannot afford the medical costs…

    BTW outside religion I don’t believe in natural rights etc. They are nice fictions invented by men. But that’s another discussion (see Heinlein or Bentham).

    1) To replicate your genes in the most advantageous way possible. This isn’t an open ended question or a matter of opinion. It’s why you’re sitting there. Everything else is just dressing. There is no other function of man. The only reason we’re at the top of the food chain is because we were best suited to replicate ourselves … or so we think *que a wide shot of the ocean with sinister music*

    2) By science solving the problem of mortality and making humans more or less immortal and living billions of years absorbing as much knowledge as possible, probably with technological aids. Maybe we’ll merge together via the internet. Science will sort it – just give it a million years, which is a possibility. Think about it what humans can and would do in ten million years if we keep up the current level of technology expansion etc.

    3) Large, soft, NATURAL, and not firm! I don’t know why everyone wants firm.

    *I could give you different answers to 1 and 2 but they would be religious etc answers, which I personally believe but would not be based sciiiiiiieeeeeeeeennnnnnce. Government and anyone does not have a say on the truth value of 1 and 2, they are rational, logical claims based on the material world that one can see and touch….. such as boobs.

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  24. Dave D

    Whatever the doctors agree on that the fetus has a suitable level of consciousness. ie his mental state is affected by external forces such as music (that’s usually about a month or two after conception, then ……

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.-”

    Sorry. I’m just in one of those moods. One of these is an absolute truth realized in the DOI. The other is a statement full of realative terms that must be interpreted and implemented by flawed humans. Which one do I chose?

    Oh, and you’re correct about “firm”. I really meant “non-saggy”.

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  25. Iconoclast

    If you’d go strictly to “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”, which I wouldn’t, then the subject — baby — would have to have a conscious understanding of what it is to be alive, to have liberty, and understand how to pursue happiness.

    As would the mentally infirm…

    The point of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” is that these are all rights than all people are intrinsically endowed with. So the issue becomes: At what stage of development are these rights bestowed upon an human being? Adulthood? Puberty? Toddler? Infant? Unborn?

    Since those of us who attempt to be honest with ourselves readily admit that we don’t know the answer, we believe it’s best to err on the side of caution, and assume that the rights are bestowed upon conception, and so government should secure the rights of the unborn.

    When we start making up rules about “consciousness” and “personhood”, we are heading down the road true tyranny; we can start claiming that any “undesirable” group of people somehow fail to qualify as “true human persons” or whatever, and act accordingly. Go ahead and invoke Godwin, but this type of reasoning has been applied in the past, with disastrous results. For those who would invoke “science” as the objective standard, eugenics was considered valid science at one time. Science, like any other human endeavor, is not immune to corruption and abuse, regardless of how it’s most fervent cheerleaders seem to imply otherwise.

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  26. salinger

    If we unplug folks when their measurable brain activity ceases it seems logical to me that one could define life beginning with measurable brain activity 6 – 8 weeks by most accounts.

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  27. Iconoclast

    If we unplug folks when their measurable brain activity ceases it seems logical to me that one could define life beginning with measurable brain activity 6 – 8 weeks by most accounts.

    There is a flaw in this “logic”, namely, the word “unplug”…

    If a person needs to be “plugged in” to a machine to remain alive, what this means is that Man is intervening to prevent death. During an abortion, Man is intervening to cause death, therefore, the comparison is invalid, in my view.

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